Mines News

Release Date Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rapid City Named Best City for Working Students

Rapid City has been named the top city in the country for working students, according to a new list published by SmartAsset.

This is good news for the community and even better news for South Dakota School of Mines & Technology students who are gaining relevant work experience while earning an exceptional education at a reasonable price. In 2015 SD Mines was named the #1 best value college in the state and #22 best in the United States by SmartAsset, a national personal finance technology company.

“Thanks to our important industry partnerships and unique internship program, SD Mines students have many opportunities to apply their skills in real-world work experiences, further enhancing the value of their education,” said Heather Wilson, president of South Dakota Mines.

011516 Working StudentsAs part of its job market analysis of 227 cities with a four-year college or university, SmartAsset studied local minimum wages, unemployment rates, cost of higher education, salaries earned by graduates, rent costs and other factors.

Nearly 50 SD Mines students currently work in paid positions at a variety of companies at the Black Hills Business Development Center, an innovation incubator located on campus. Among the local business development center companies where students work: Raven Industries, B9 Creations, VRC Metal Systems, Zyvex Technologies, Innovative Systems, CHR Solutions, Nucor Steel, Nexus USA, North Atlantic Industries and AMPTEC.

In 2015, 78 percent of SD Mines graduates had at least one paid internship before earning their degrees. Many have several. Among the 2015 graduates, 49 accepted a job offer from their internship or co-op employer.

Overall last year, 530 students interned with 225 employers with an average hourly wage of $17.57.

“Rapid City has always had a great relationship with South Dakota Mines, and there are a number of opportunities for young people to work in our community, whether they are college or high school students,” Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says. “It is very important we continue identifying, attracting and locating economic development and job opportunities with good wages and benefits that can match our quality of life so more students stay here after graduation.”

SmartAsset is a national personal finance technology company that uses financial models to provide personalized, automated advice to the general public on financial decisions such as home financing, refinancing, student loans, retirement, life insurance, banking, credit cards and startup economics.

“Workers with some college education face an unemployment rate of just 2.3 percent in Rapid City, one of the lowest rates in the country,” according to the SmartAsset website. “That means more and better job opportunities for working students.”

Rapid City’s college education value score of 87.22 ranked fourth among the top 25 cities on the list, behind only Seattle, Cambridge, Mass., and Pasadena, Calif. The unemployment rate trailed only Fayetteville, Ark. (1.0 percent), and Lubbock, Texas (1.5 percent). Five Midwestern cities ranked among the 10 best for working students, with Rapid City first; Lincoln, Neb., third; Duluth, Minn., fourth; Minneapolis, ninth; and Omaha, Neb. tenth.

For news coverage about Rapid City named the top city in the country for working students and how SD Mines students are gaining relevant work experiences for their future careers:

Details on the study, including full methodology and rankings, can be found at SmartAsset.


Fran LeFort
Communications Manager
(605) 394-6082



About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of $62,929. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.


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